Installing a hardwood floor is one of the best ways to add a touch of natural elegance to your home, along with bamboo. Different species of trees offer a wide variety of natural earth tones that allow hardwood to be paired with any type of decor. In addition, hardwood can be installed in virtually any room. Though less expensive vinyl flooring options have flooded the market in recent years, real hardwood flooring is impossible to beat for both its durability and its aesthetic quality.
Choosing the best type of hardwood floor for your home, however, is less straightforward. A simple walk through at your local hardware or home improvement store will leave you with dozens of different types of real hardwood flooring options. You may be wondering, “is there really a difference between birch and maple, or sapele and red oak?”
If so, here’s a rundown on choosing the best type of hardwood floor for your home.
Elements to Consider When Choosing the Best Hardwood for your Home
Not all hardwood flooring is created equal, and to find the best product for your home you need to look beyond the simple differences in color. A few elements that you need to decide before considering the best type of wood include:
- Solid or Manufactured: Today, you can find hardwood flooring both as solid wood planks and as manufactured wood panels. Manufactured hardwood flooring has a thin veneer of real hardwood that is subsequently glued to layers of manufactured wood like plywood or MDF. Manufactured hardwood flooring is made to withstand the elements and tends to be less prone to shrinkage and cracking. However, some manufactured hardwood flooring products have such a thin top veneer that you might not be able to sand it down to refinish the floor in the future. Furthermore, the feel of solid hardwood flooring underfoot does offer a sense of durability and robustness to your home.
- Prefinished or Site Finished: You will also need to choose how your flooring will be finished. If you want a simple “one and done” project, prefinished hardwood flooring panels offer the quickest installation times. If you do purchase hardwood planks with an unfinished face, this can allow for a greater level of customization as you will have to separately seal and finish the planks once they are installed in your home.
Different Types of Hardwood Available for your Home
Once you have settled on solid or manufactured hardwood flooring, and have chosen between prefinished or site finished products, you will also need to choose the best species of wood for your home. Oak flooring is one of the most popular species of hardwood flooring in North America, and for good reason.
Oak is extremely durable and strong, takes stain very easily, and has an appealing natural grain for added aesthetic. Both white oak and red oak offer different color tones for your home, and are generally easy to source in different regions across the country.
Other types of wood species used for hardwood flooring include:
- Maple: This hardwood is robust and has consistent grains. Maple is also naturally dust resistant, and can help improve indoor air quality. On the downside, it is somewhat prone to scratches.
- Birch: Birch flooring is much softer than oak, which can lead to dents. However, birch flooring has a nice uniform texture that many homeowners find appealing.
- Sapele: This type of hardwood originates in tropical Africa, which tends to increase the price range. However, the dark, reddish-brown color and extreme hardness are benefits that many homeowners appreciate with this type of wood.
- Hickory: This hardwood flooring is considered to be the strongest among the hardwood flooring available in North America. However, the flooring panels may vary in color and often darken over time.
- Cherry: Though some homeowners might be attracted to the unique color variation that cherry wood offers, it is one of the softest hardwoods available for flooring, with a Janka hardness rating of just 950 (Red oak has a Janka rating of 1290 for comparison). Furthermore, cherry wood can be hard to source, especially due to strict logging laws. If you’re seeking the unique color that cherry hardwood flooring provides, red oak offers pink tones with hues of red throughout. Red oak is also easier to source and is much more durable than cherry.
Experience The Elegance Of Hardwood Flooring With Natale
Natale Builders is a family owned and operated professional home building business, with over 50 years of experience in building custom homes for families across the Western New York area.
Our standard hardwood option is beautiful red oak, and we also offer white oak, maple, birch sapele and hickory. Contact Natale Builders today to get started planning the hardwood flooring of your dreams in your new dream home!